At my wits end really so need advice.

cjlhessing

Member
Hi there. I have an arcam avr 550. This is running the kef r3 series speakers as centre left and right, and two rear speakers are q acoustic 3020i left over from another install.

If I do use the sub, it’s pretty much always off, it’s the PB3000. It’s a 5.1 install basically. No atmos speakers or anything.

So the problem. Well, this is my second 550. The first one, just died as a professional Dirac installer was calibrating it. No dc warning nothings just tripped as we were watching a Blu-ray and we had to turn on manually - when it came on there was no sound, no test tones in speaker menu calibration, nothing. Was confirmed as ‘dead’ by arcam and the dealer also and a new one sent out.

Now prior to that Dirac calibration I had used it for a week and found that the transformer was humming/buzzing randomly. Sometimes quiet and sometimes louder. Sometimes an on/off would clear it for a few days other times it wouldn’t and it was back immediately. Then as I said it just died.

So new one comes and he comes back and finishes the job. A few weeks later the buzzing is back. Cables were checked and are ok (also new and burnt in via company). It probably isn’t as bad as before but it’s put me off even watching the tv. In 6 months Iv probably used it 3 times and that’s just messed up.

Arcam later emailed when I asked them about this repeated problem saying there was no fault found with that retuned unit…which is nonsense. We went through their support on the phone and by email to fix that unit and was told by them it’s dead. The dealer also wanted things checked. Confirmed dead.

I’m at the point i don’t know what to do. My Dirac guy offered to turn down the calibrated settings so the speakers run ‘less hot’ although he believes it’s all fine - here’s the thing - because I saw Dirac calibration being switched on makes volume quieter overal I mostly have room eq/Dirac turned off. So this can’t be a calibration issue or error.
I don’t have the volume loud by any means and usually it’s just random bits of tv I attempt to watch not even a fancy movie or Blu-ray.
Could anyone who has the patience to read all this advise? Should I just sell it and go to the Nad 758 V3i which I have heard of someone running the same 3 front speakers and have no issues with.

EDIT. AM ATTACHING AN AUDIO RECORDING OF THE BUZZING THE AVR MAKES. THIS IS FROM SOMEWHERE INSIDE THE MACHINE.

Avr buzzing

Thanks guys
 
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Zarf2007

Active Member
Hi there. I have an arcam avr 550. This is running the kef r3 series speakers as centre left and right, and two rear speakers are q acoustic 3020i left over from another install.

If I do use the sub, it’s pretty much always off, it’s the PB3000. It’s a 5.1 install basically. No atmos speakers or anything.

So the problem. Well, this is my second 550. The first one, just died as a professional Dirac installer was calibrating it. No dc warning nothings just tripped as we were watching a Blu-ray and we had to turn on manually - when it came on there was no sound, no test tones in speaker menu calibration, nothing. Was confirmed as ‘dead’ by arcam and the dealer also and a new one sent out.

Now prior to that Dirac calibration I had used it for a week and found that the transformer was humming/buzzing randomly. Sometimes quiet and sometimes louder. Sometimes an on/off would clear it for a few days other times it wouldn’t and it was back immediately. Then as I said it just died.

So new one comes and he comes back and finishes the job. A few weeks later the buzzing is back. Cables were checked and are ok (also new and burnt in via company). It probably isn’t as bad as before but it’s put me off even watching the tv. In 6 months Iv probably used it 3 times and that’s just messed up.

Arcam later emailed when I asked them about this repeated problem saying there was no fault found with that retuned unit…which is nonsense. We went through their support on the phone and by email to fix that unit and was told by them it’s dead. The dealer also wanted things checked. Confirmed dead.

I’m at the point i don’t know what to do. My Dirac guy offered to turn down the calibrated settings so the speakers run ‘less hot’ although he believes it’s all fine - here’s the thing - because I saw Dirac calibration being switched on makes volume quieter overal I mostly have room eq/Dirac turned off. So this can’t be a calibration issue or error.
I don’t have the volume loud by any means and usually it’s just random bits of tv I attempt to watch not even a fancy movie or Blu-ray.
Could anyone who has the patience to read all this advise? Should I just sell it and go to the Nad 758 V3i which I have heard of someone running the same 3 front speakers and have no issues with.

Thanks guys
You could get a 3 channel amp to power LCR which would take the load off your 550 and run the others from the AVR itself. Emotiva have a new BasX A3 or I recommend their XPA range if you want to spend more money. it could be the R3s are dipping too low (they can go as low as 3ohms) and causing issues.


 
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cjlhessing

Member
You could get a 3 channel amp to power LCR which would take the load off your 550 and run the others from the AVR itself. Emotiva have a new BasX A3 or I recommend their XPA range if you want to spend more money. it could be the R3s are dipping too low (they can go as low as 3ohms) and causing issues.


Hello! Thanks so much for that reply!
I’m really pleased to see the a3 would work as I don’t have much room - that would slot in so perfectly whereas the other one…no idea where or how I’d fit that in.
I guess it’s worth trying that out and then really using the avr every day to see if it’s resolved. Then if not I’ll just have to replace the thing and return the a3 to the dealer but atleast I’d have tried.
Really do appreciate the help with this pal.
I’ll go find out what cables I need to get that linked up to the avr :)

thanks again :)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I doubt very much that the Arcam cannot drive the R3s even though they dip to 3.2 ohm. The R3 and the previous generation R300s do have a reputation of being hard to drive and Arcam have a reputation of giving good strong power supplies which is needed to cope with the drops. The Arcam should be able to drive all your connected speakers with some ease.

I'd try and trouble shoot the amp myself before spending out money on a power amp although such an amp would help any AV amp in reality as it will give far more headroom, but at the moment that may not solve the problem.

I would disconnect all speakers except the front stereo pair. Is the buzzing still there. If so then check to hear if it is in one particular speaker. If it is then change to speakers around and see if the buzzing follows the speakers, indicating a speaker fault. If the buzzing remains on the same channel then that is an amp fault.

No buzzing from the stereo pair then add the centre. If the centre buzzes then change with one of the stereo pair and repeat the previous step. Same for the surrounds. Even if you connect up a power amp and the fault lies with the Arcam's pre-amp the buzzing will still remain.

I've been running KEF R Series all round in a 5.1.2 for several years from Denon amps although over the last four years employing a stereo amp with HT by-pass for the front pair. Even before that I've had no problems and the amps have performed well and easily, the Arcam should be no different.
 

cjlhessing

Member
I doubt very much that the Arcam cannot drive the R3s even though they dip to 3.2 ohm. The R3 and the previous generation R300s do have a reputation of being hard to drive and Arcam have a reputation of giving good strong power supplies which is needed to cope with the drops. The Arcam should be able to drive all your connected speakers with some ease.

I'd try and trouble shoot the amp myself before spending out money on a power amp although such an amp would help any AV amp in reality as it will give far more headroom, but at the moment that may not solve the problem.

I would disconnect all speakers except the front stereo pair. Is the buzzing still there. If so then check to hear if it is in one particular speaker. If it is then change to speakers around and see if the buzzing follows the speakers, indicating a speaker fault. If the buzzing remains on the same channel then that is an amp fault.

No buzzing from the stereo pair then add the centre. If the centre buzzes then change with one of the stereo pair and repeat the previous step. Same for the surrounds. Even if you connect up a power amp and the fault lies with the Arcam's pre-amp the buzzing will still remain.

I've been running KEF R Series all round in a 5.1.2 for several years from Denon amps although over the last four years employing a stereo amp with HT by-pass for the front pair. Even before that I've had no problems and the amps have performed well and easily, the Arcam should be no different.
Hello, well the buzzing is from the unit. As in inside the actual avr not from the speakers. The avr sits on a tv bench so there’s no sound insulation with it but also means it has all the cool air it could wish for.
I could I suppose disconnect the rears and leave just the main 3 and see if it happens but it is sporadic. There are times I have left the entire system on (to test it) come home 6 hours later and it’s fine. Other times within 20 mins it happens. That’s even when volume is set to mute for the testing purposes.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
That does indeed look as though it is a problem your are going to have to deal with via Arcam or your dealer. Even using a power amp is no guarantee that the buzzing will stop. It is certainly nothing to do with driving the KEFs.
 

cjlhessing

Member
That does indeed look as though it is a problem your are going to have to deal with via Arcam or your dealer. Even using a power amp is no guarantee that the buzzing will stop. It is certainly nothing to do with driving the KEFs.
Then I am in deep trouble because Arcam deny any kind of issue even when I supply audio recordings of the noise it makes :( for the record I have attached a copy of the noise recording in this thread.
Thanks for confirming what I thought and dreaded lol.
 

Zarf2007

Active Member
Tbh I previously owned the avr390 and it had really bad transformer hum, it really is the luck of the draw with arcam‘s FMJ series
 

cjlhessing

Member
Yeah I have heard this on some random pages. I guess I have this fear where because the first one died ‘post hum/buzz’ I’m now associating that hum/buzz on this replacement with imminent doom and hence not using it for the past 6-8months.
If I think about it rationally I SHOULD be using it so that if it is going to go bang it does so in warranty period lmao.

At the end I’m left with the same options - to sell the arcam and get that NAD I referenced or to stick with the arcam, learn to live with it but maybe also get that 3 channel poweramp just to make things easier. The fact the r3 speakers (and there are 2 plus the even bigger centre r3 speaker) dip below ‘normal’ ohm levels is something I also read about in random places before today. The poweramp might atleast give me the freedom to turn things louder for a movie without worrying about the avr trying to cope.
 

Zarf2007

Active Member
Yeah I have heard this on some random pages. I guess I have this fear where because the first one died ‘post hum/buzz’ I’m now associating that hum/buzz on this replacement with imminent doom and hence not using it for the past 6-8months.
If I think about it rationally I SHOULD be using it so that if it is going to go bang it does so in warranty period lmao.

At the end I’m left with the same options - to sell the arcam and get that NAD I referenced or to stick with the arcam, learn to live with it but maybe also get that 3 channel poweramp just to make things easier. The fact the r3 speakers (and there are 2 plus the even bigger centre r3 speaker) dip below ‘normal’ ohm levels is something I also read about in random places before today. The poweramp might atleast give me the freedom to turn things louder for a movie without worrying about the avr trying to cope.

its worth giving it a try and as long as you can return the power amp if it makes no difference then no harm done.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Yeah I have heard this on some random pages. I guess I have this fear where because the first one died ‘post hum/buzz’ I’m now associating that hum/buzz on this replacement with imminent doom and hence not using it for the past 6-8months.
If I think about it rationally I SHOULD be using it so that if it is going to go bang it does so in warranty period lmao.

At the end I’m left with the same options - to sell the arcam and get that NAD I referenced or to stick with the arcam, learn to live with it but maybe also get that 3 channel poweramp just to make things easier. The fact the r3 speakers (and there are 2 plus the even bigger centre r3 speaker) dip below ‘normal’ ohm levels is something I also read about in random places before today. The poweramp might atleast give me the freedom to turn things louder for a movie without worrying about the avr trying to cope.
If you have buzzing will all speakers disconnected then the odds are the toroidal transformer need replacing a common issue with this type of transformer.
 

unoduo

Active Member
It might just be the case that the model of transformer used in Arcam is susceptible to producing excess hum on your mains supply. Could be interference from a fridge, freezer or dc issues etc. If that’s the case then a repair or replacement is probably not going to help. I had a similar experience of transformer hum with a certain brand of subwoofer which went back & forth between me, the dealer & manufacturer.

In my experience you don’t get used to it & if it spoils the enjoyment of using your equipment then get it replaced with something else. Maybe your dealer will be understanding enough to offer you a suitable replacement or very generous exchange deal.
 
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mb3195

Distinguished Member
Sounds like you’ve got DC on your mains. My trinnov power amps would occasionally do something similar until I installed some dc blockers.

Basically, uk power supplies are pretty good, but not perfect, we use AC power supplies, but occasionally DC can make its way on to your mains, which is only noticeable with something like a transformer that can only be powered by AC.

The DC blocker filters out all interference and gives you a pure clean AC power supply. Another bonus is you’ll get better audio performance.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
@mb3195 which blockers did you use? The Audiolab? Or the iFi Silentpower?
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member

cjlhessing

Member
Thanks for all the updates on this. I’m definitely going to get a 3ch poweramp to ease the load, it also means any issues the speakers cause by being too demanding at times affect something far easier and cheaper to replace than an arcam amp. I’ll order the item you suggested too. Many many thanks for al the help on this.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
Sounds like you’ve got DC on your mains. My trinnov power amps would occasionally do something similar until I installed some dc blockers.

Basically, uk power supplies are pretty good, but not perfect, we use AC power supplies, but occasionally DC can make its way on to your mains, which is only noticeable with something like a transformer that can only be powered by AC.

The DC blocker filters out all interference and gives you a pure clean AC power supply. Another bonus is you’ll get better audio performance.

IMHO this guy is right. The recording sounds like mechanical transformer hum, you said it comes and goes which is not unusual for DC on the mains and also Arcam could not hear it at their facility.

You will likely find it hums with nothing much plugged when it is powered on so an easy way to confirm is to take it to a friends house who lives at least a few miles away, if it does not hum there then I would be 99% sure it is DC on the mains. Suitable blockers are approx £100.
 
Thanks for all the updates on this. I’m definitely going to get a 3ch poweramp to ease the load, it also means any issues the speakers cause by being too demanding at times affect something far easier and cheaper to replace than an arcam amp. I’ll order the item you suggested too. Many many thanks for al the help on this.
As others have said this isn't likely to be related to load so a poweramp is almost certainly not going to solve the issue.

I would suggest that the two most likely causes are DC on the mains, as others have said, although the sound does seem a little too constant. The other likely cause is too high a voltage which will saturate the transformer and cause it to buzz/hum.

I had exactly the same problem with several pairs of active speakers and went down the DC filter route to no avail. It turns out that the volume of the noise varied depending on the time of the day and this correlated with the incoming mains voltage. Fixing the voltage with a stabiliser solved the problem and as an added bonus my lightbulbs now last longer as well.
 

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